Picking Berlin and London’s Brains to design the Bangkok Clean Air Zone

Bangkok year-round suffers from severe air pollution (PM2.5 emissions), 72% of which being caused by the transport sector and particularly by diesel vehicles. Thailand, supported by GIZ project TRANSfer, has decided to act on ambient air pollution and climate change by the implementation of the Bangkok Clean Air Zone.

In order to gain first-hand experience on Low Emission Zones and Congestion Charging, TRANSfer organized a study tour to Berlin and London in February 2020. The tour was joined by decision makers from the Transport Ministry as well as the Bangkok City Administration, including the Permanent Secretary of the Transport Ministry, Mr Chaiwat Thongkamkoon.

After talks with government officials and experts as well as side visits, the study tour culminated in a workshop to design the Bangkok Clean Air Zone, placing special emphasis on equity issues and public transport availability – topics high on the Thai Governments agenda. GIZ had supported the Thai Government throughout the last year in modelling different scenarios on what the Clean Air Zone could look like in terms of size, charging method, pricing, and exemptions and estimated the impact on air quality and congestion relieve.

     

During the workshop, the Thai delegates also analysed accompanying measures to be funded by the revenue of the charge. Among others, measures such as increasing public transport availability within the zone or decreasing public transport tariffs to relieve the burden on low-income groups were discussed. A good balance between impact and social equity is of special importance to the Thai Government in order to not put an additional burden on low income households but still achieve significant air quality improvements.

TRANSfer will be supporting the Thai Transport Ministry and the Bangkok City Administration in the next steps of designing the Clean Air Zone for Bangkok and driving the bus network reform in the frame of the Thai Clean Mobility Programme.

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“Environmental problems and climate change are a global agenda and a concern to everyone. Thailand realises this and intends to tackle these problems seriously.

A major take away from this trip is the lesson learnt and the idea of implementing congestion charging in the area of Bangkok, we must use the momentum of air pollution crisis, particularly PM 2.5 and accompany its implementation with the improvement of public bus services and non-motorised transport and also other transport demand management measures.”

Mr. Chaiwat Thongkamkoon, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transport

Mr. Gorißen, Deputy Director General at German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and Mr. Thongkamkoon, Permanent Secretary at Thailand's Ministry of Transport/ Photo by Papondhanai Nanthachatchavankul (GIZ)
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Published by:
Carolin Capone, Bangkok